A young woman sounds the call for the noonday meal for the men laboring in the distant field. The wind pulls her skirts outward behind her, investing her form with an almost heroic, monumental quality. An identically posed figure appears in several of Homer’s oil versions of the subject from the 1870s, all of which reflect his concerns with depicting the wholesomeness of American farm life. The engraving provides greater narrative detail than the oils do, perhaps reflecting Homer’s interest in pleasing a general audience. The artist’s keen knowledge of the graphic medium and its strengths is apparent, as well. He created additional visual interest, for example, by patterning the girl’s dress and by inserting the border of spiked grasses at the lower edge of the composition.
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Winslow Homer (American, 1836-1910). The Dinner Horn, 1870. Wood engraving, Image: 13 7/8 x 9 1/8 in. (35.2 x 23.2 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Harvey Isbitts, 1998.105.150
Gift of Harvey Isbitts
Image: 13 7/8 x 9 1/8 in. (35.2 x 23.2 cm); Sheet: 15 3/4 x 10 3/4 in. (40 x 27.3 cm); Frame: 16 3/4 x 22 3/4 x 1 1/2 in. (42.5 x 57.8 x 3.8 cm)